Odisha govt bows to Opp; members to get Bills in Odia too

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 17:

Conceding to the Opposition demand, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday directed all the departments to provide Odia copies of Bills, in addition to English copies, to the members before they are taken up for consideration of the House.

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The direction came after Opposition Congress and BJP created a ruckus in the Assembly during the post-lunch period demanding Odia copies of Odisha Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and Odisha Police Bill, 2015 introduced in the House by Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Kesari Arukh respectively.

The Opposition members rushed into the well of the House alleging disrespect to Odia language when Bills were tabled in English.

“The Chief Minister has directed all the department secretaries to ensure distribution of Odia language copies of Bills being introduced in the Assembly,” Parliamentary Affairs minister Bikram Kesari Arukh said in the Assembly.

Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress said, the Naveen Patnaik government should shun its feudal mindset and act in a democratic way.

“You have been denying rights of the members, who do not read and write English language. The government must ensure that the Odia translation of the English copies should also be distributed among the members as per the provision of the Orissa Official Language Act, 1954,” Mishra said.

The opposition members comprising both the Congress and BJP separately rushed to well of the House and shouted slogans against the government as Speaker Niranjan Pujari did not pay any heed to their demand for distributing Odia copies of the Bills.

Congress member and chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati tried to climb atop the Speaker’s podium and alleged that the state government did not have any respect for the mother tongue.

The Opposition members walked out of the House as soon as the Speaker allowed Finance minister Pradip Kumar Amat to present the state budget for the year 2015-16.

After Speaker’s advice and Finance minister’s request, the Opposition members, including Narasingha Mishra and others, returned to the House. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh and government chief whip Ananta Das went to Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra’s chamber and persuaded him to return to the House.

Mishra later expressed satisfaction at the Chief Minister’s announcement, saying; ‘‘I am happy that the government has accepted the Opposition demand. Had the government accepted our demands earlier, the situation would not have arisen. Debate necessarily means the government should consider the issues raised by the Opposition. I hope the government would continue to maintain this approach,’’ Narasingha Mishra said.

Ruling BJD MLA Ranendra Pratap Swain said Speaker Niranjan Pujari had directed the departments to provide Odia copies of Bills earlier. Had his office adhered to the directions, the unruly situation would not have surfaced,” he said.

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